It seems like every time you open up the Google News page or turn on CNN there’s another report of a mass shooting. We MUST mobilize our country’s brightest minds and most resourceful institutions and figure out how to stop crazy people from killing our children and our neighbors. Even the most extreme pro-gun advocate and the farthest left leaning liberal gun grabber can agree that it’s an abhorrent state of affairs and it has GOT to stop. So you’d suppose that at least a few people involved in the debate would care enough to really think about how to solve the problem.
Nope. After reading dozens of news stories and talking to many friends and colleagues over the weekend about the rash of mass shootings, I’m convinced that Americans have almost entirely forgotten how to care enough to really care.
We’ll cry over the horrendous loss of innocent life then go right back to spouting emotional nonsense that fits our preconceptions, whatever side we may be on. Bloggers will load their hysterical posts with targeted keywords to try to increase advertising revenue. Firearms advocates will tell us to hurry up and buy all the so-called “assault weapons” we can because another ban is coming. Mental health professionals will insist that they’re unable to identify and isolate potentially deadly people and blame the shootings on the NRA. Parents will wonder if their kids’ collections of first person shooter games have anything to do with the increase in murderous violence among teenage boys, but the video game industry will continue to pay for studies showing that there’s no correlation between killing hundreds of digital zombies for hours at a time and going into a shopping mall with a semi-automatic rifle and shooting holiday shoppers. The teachers unions will decry their lack of funding and go on espousing their right to undermine the critical thinking abilities of our children. And politicians will begin to craft their positions to prepare for the next election.
The solution to this problem will not come from the politicians. The solution to this problem will not come from the teachers unions. The solution will not come from the video game manufacturers. The solution will not come from mental health professionals. The solution to this problem will not come from firearms advocates. The solution will definitely not come from bloggers.
The solution may not even come from you. Unless you care enough to really care. To take the time to study the complicated interactions between the manifold influences on American violence. To rely on science instead of politics. To put aside your own emotions, however powerful, and focus on finding a solution even if doesn’t feel as comfortable as the opinions you’re so fond of posting on your Facebook page.
Solving this problem is going to be really, really hard. But not as hard as losing a friend or a child.